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Jhpiego frontline health workers safe in Haiti

January 15, 2010
CONTACT: Melody McCoy
410-537-1829 or mmccoy@jhpiego.net
Cell: 410-868-9399

All six Haitian employees of Jhpiego, a Johns Hopkins-affiliated global health organization that has worked in Haiti for 15 years, are alive and safe following Tuesday’s devastating earthquake, the organization learned.

Lucito Jeannis, Jhpiego’s country director in Port au Prince, telephoned a colleague at Jhpiego Friday morning with the good news. “The whole team in Haiti is fine,” the physician said. “Our houses sustained damages, but we are handling it OK.”

 Jeannis said he hadn’t called sooner because of the disruption in communications on the island nation.

Jhpiego, which provides maternal and newborn health, family planning services and HIV counseling and training in Haiti, had reached out to partner organizations since the earthquake hit to try and locate its staff. They first learned Thursday that some employees had survived the deadly quake when Marie Jacqueline Jean, a reproductive health advisor for Jhpiego, e-mailed staff in Baltimore. She reported that she and coworker Marie Patrice Honore, a technical coordinator, were at Jhpiego’s office on Tuesday when violent jolts shook the building. The two women raced into the street to safety as area buildings collapsed and thousands of Haitians were trapped and feared dead.

 “We are not hurt physically but we were very shocked,” Jean said.  “I did not lose anyone in my family but I lost many friends. We are in the street, because from time to time, we record jolts. Everyone is afraid. It’s panic. We continue to pray.”

 The other Jhpiego staffs are administrative officer Marie Flore Trevant, reproductive health training advisor Jean Bernard Fevrier and driver Jean Wesner Cazenave.

Jhpiego CEO and President Leslie Mancuso was elated at the news about the Haiti staff.  “We are so thankful that our Haiti colleagues are well and safe. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with all of the people of Haiti,’’ she said.

Jhpiego is organizing a team to send to the earthquake-ravaged country Monday to support its staff on the ground, assess the immediate needs of pregnant women and newborns, assist health care providers in delivering services and help the government reestablish a health care system.

During the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that devastated South Asia, Jhpiego sent a team to assist its 20-member staff in Indonesia. In Aceh, Jhpiego re-established and equipped 20 midwife practices and two midwifery schools, established and equipped the obstetric unit of one provincial hospital, equipped 50 village midwives with delivery and suturing kits, and two midwifery schools.

Jhpiego also recruited and deployed 127 midwives to fill the gap in reproductive health services at health facilities and camps for displaced persons. Services provided by these midwives covered an estimated 1,504 children and 3,852 women.

 Jhpiego completed the last of its tsunami projects this past December.

For 35 years, Jhpiego, based in Baltimore and a part of The Johns Hopkins University, has empowered front-line health workers by designing and implementing effective, low-cost, hands-on solutions to strengthen the delivery of health care services for women and their families.

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